Friday, August 8, 2014

Creatively Confident at the #DTK12 Summit at the

"We need to educate the innovators of today, not the innovators of tomorrow." This quote from Leticia Britos Cavagnaro is simple yet profound. Design Thinking can be the system, the mindset, the disposition to engage our students in innovative problem finding and solving. Students should be co-designers of their education - given the opportunity to explore their passions, build their innate strengths and not fear failure. How often do schools allow students to do this? Do you allow your students to do this? If not - why? Fear of change, lack of resources like time or external pressures like standardized testing? There is a path to get just takes an open mind, eagerness to learn and growth mindset (and admin support helps!). 

This week I was invited to Palo Alto to the Stanford for the first ever K-12 Lab DT Summit where we explored how other teachers, administrators and learning partners are integrating Design Thinking into their schools. I also had dinner with a group of my friends from the #dtk12chat and David Kelley - founder of the, IDEO and co-author of Creative Confidence. Thanks to the amazing Ellen for setting it all up! 

The summit fulfilled all of my expectations and more. Awesome people, dreamers, innovators doers, wonderful space to collaborate and excellent sessions. I especially loved hearing from Annette Diefenthaler, a design research lead who is passionate about education from IDEO. Annette told us about the process of developing the Design Thinking Toolkit for Educators with Riverdale, her work in the field and her passion about (re) searching inspiration for design. Annette said that design thinking feels like common sense but it's not been common practice. How might we make design thinking common practice in education? Part of the answer is to immerse teachers and other school leaders in design thinking. Ask teachers what their "wicked challenges" are and let them solve (we love using the LUMA "what's on your radar" method to start the brainstorm!). Help teachers translate what they have done within these design challenges into the classroom to empower students to be dreamers, doers and makers. Help teachers learn how to assess design thinking and project based learning as well. 

David Kelley spoke at the DTK12 Summit on our second day. I was struck by his genuine responses to questions, honesty and inspirational words. David spoke to us about being insecure and being able to have the guts to hear that your idea is terrible (and bounce back...) He also spoke about his students. He wants his students to be mindful and present. Shouldn't all teachers want the same? For our students to be present and mindful we have to change the predominant passive teaching modes that exist in schools today. Design Thinking can be a catalyst to lead that shift. While its only one "learning innovation" its extremely powerful. Our role as teachers should be to put a lot of possibilities on the table so students have better ones to choose from. David said: "It's hard to break habits, so put an inspiring choice on the table."  I agree with David that everyone can be wildly creative when we move the roadblocks. Administrators, department heads, teacher-leaders, I challenge you to remove the roadblocks and build wild fires!

Some other "nuggets" from this week:

Some images from the Summit: 

I come back to my school energized for the start of the school year, excited for the Learning Innovation Institute to be a key player in our region spreading the message of how design thinking can be used as a part of project based learning to inspire creative confidence, give opportunities for students to be innovators and put learners at the front of school. On October 18th, we are holding a Design Thinking unconference to explore these ideas in Pittsburgh and our innovation fellows will share throughout the year as well. I hope to see everyone again next summer! 

1 comment:

  1. I agree that the best way to get teachers on board is to immerse them in DT. Far too often teachers don't understand how they can use the design process in their classroom. However, once they see the potential, there is no going back to "the old way of teaching."

    Jenny Velasquez
    Middle School Head
    St. Martin's Episcopal School